By Spy Uganda
Kampala: The Commission of Inquiry into Land Matters led by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire has handed over its report to President Yoweri Museveni and briefed him on several issues including the fact that the land fund established by government to settle land matters is used to finance irregular transactions involving payment of huge sums of money to brokers and well-connected individuals in Kampala.
According to Justice Catherine Bamugemereire, the commission received complains totaling to 8528 from 123 districts out of 135 between 2017-2019 which constitutes 91% of the total districts.
Speaking shortly after receiving the report, President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, said that it is going to be a good nucleus for the current understanding of land use for wealth creation.
“At the core of these problems, is the lack of vision of answering the question of ‘where does wealth come from. The desperate rush for land, they think that wealth only comes from Agriculture,” President Museveni said.
The President said that wealth comes from four major sectors namely; Commercial Agriculture, Industries like factories (small, medium and big), Services like hotels, transport etc. and Information, Communication Technology sector.
President Museveni said the report will be given to the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban development who will present it to cabinet for discussion and government will write a white paper to address the whole issue.
The Commission among other things wants government to addresses the challenge of the perceived subservient position of customary land by ensuring that all land including customary land is registered.
“All land in the country should be put on a register after an adjudication process,” Bamugemereire said.
The Commission also recommends the establishment of an institutional framework for administration of customary land within Uganda Land Services Bureau framework.
The Land dispute situation, according to Bamugemereire was found by the commission to be a pandemic, in which mostly the well-to do persons have obtained land through illegal means, bribing their way through all systems of land administration and registration.
The Commission recommended among other issues, the enactment of a distinct wetland law to reverse the tempo at which wetlands are reclaimed in Uganda and to restore degraded wetlands, amend the law to curtail the excessive powers of the chief government valuer and the commissioner for land registration.
The commission has also recommended the establishment of a Land and Environment Court, reinstatement of District land Tribunals and establishment of a land Ombudsman.
“The land and environment court which shall have circuits in all of the regions shall entertain appeals from district tribunal as well as have original jurisdiction in environmental matter and land acquisition compensations,” Bamugemereire said.
On the contestation over land as a result of discovery of mineral rights, the commission recommends that a strong regulatory framework should be established to check the pervasive syndicated corruption, and prevent the dishing of mineral rights at the expense of reputable companies.